Two weeks ago I attended a five day "Enlightenment Intensive" at a beautiful Buddhist retreat center in Washington.
Did I get "enlightened"? If you mean, did I completely dissolve into nothingness? No, I did not. If you mean, "did I have a direct experience of the truth of who I am? Yes, I did. It was sweet and simple, and changed my life. It made me laugh out loud.
The five day retreat was designed to be a complete immersion into contemplating the question, "Who am I?" - twenty-four hours a day. It was nine hours of intense dyad work, talking and listening openly and honestly with our partners at our deepest level. The rest of the hours were spent in "Noble Silence" with only the question. I ate with it, walked with it, worked, slept and dreamed with it.
Now I am home and back in the studio. I'm bringing the contemplation into my studio with my paintings as my dyad partners.
I've always worked with my paintings are partners and listened to what they want to be, so working with a more structured contemplative approach is going to be a subtle change. I'm really interested in seeing what happens.
The painting above is the first to come out of this new practice. It's called, "After That, This".
More to come, always.
Painting in Portland, Oregon, and writing about it here...